Monday, July 22, 2013

There's plenty of the summertime left, right? I should start this off making excuses for lack of updates, but I just don't have any. Do you ever feel incredibly busy, yet nothing seems to get done? Yea, that's what I feel like. Going down the highway yesterday, I glanced over and saw a new sign, one I usually don't spot till late summer/early fall: Halloween City. Between this and all the school supplies in stores, I'm wondering if the summer really is coming to an end. My to-do: Solidify those homeschool plans! (Looking into a curriculum for math, lots of reading, want to creatively work in writing. We'll push on with Story of the World and we have tons of resources for science. I'd like to pin down some specific interests from the kids.) Commit to daily exercise. Been going good since May, but this past week with vacation stuff going on, I'm dragging. (I know, why didn't I blog about letting that go to the wayside when it happened...Last Fall!?!) Write a whole heck of a lot more. It doesn't have to be here. It doesn't have to be about kids. It will make me feel better if I do it though. Kick this "mid life crisis"/bummed out in general feeling. (Hey, I'm nearing that "half way point" in life). Find a way to be creative. This is really important, but I'm struggling to figure it out. Come Fall, I hope to do more updating about homeschooling. I kept everything in a calendar last year, and it really helped with records keeping and showing progress throughout the year. Here I could do better with visuals.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Happy New Year!

Yup, just getting to that "New Year" now. We got sick the first week of the month and before I know it, February is almost here. The first half of the homeschool year had been great and the second half is even better. We're still really into Bob Books,have branched out into Level One Avenger books, Dr. Suess and Berernstein Bears. I'm re-reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at bedtime, hoping F will get into it (L is as into it this time around as the first time). We have The Scret Garden playing in the car whenever we're out and about. Math is Geometric shapes, 2d and 3d, counting money and endless scenarios using (+ - x \) to figure out how many skylanders I can buy if I make this much allowance over this period of time. We write everyday. I've turned into the homeschooling mom who requires 2 pages of worksheet writing everyday. (Yikes!) But we're both happy with it. He gets the needed practice making letters, words and sentences. We touch on science, history and sometimes geography everyday. Sometimes planned, sometimes spur of the moment topics. Where earlier in the year, Story of the World was our main history book, we're now incorporating interesting videos about historical figures, the Usborne illustrated world history, The Children's Book of America in addition to the endless resources on the web. I'm trying to get better about record keeping. I'm now using iCal to summarize what we do everyday/or week. The youngest is in the middle of that wonderful "3" year. He's challenging x10! I'm happy to report a huge difference between 3 & 3.5, however, with the latter being much more affectionate, happy and communicative. We're definitely doing more talking about our feeling before simply acting on them. So, things are good, and I'm clearly horrible at keeping up a blog. Maybe when the kids are grown....

Friday, September 28, 2012

Playground Lotto

This week we headed out to the brand new, nearby playground at the nature center. Wow, it was so much more than I was expecting, with a huge water feature running down a hill with rocks and waterfalls and a nice sized area at the bottom and top. The best thing? The kids are encouraged to play in it! There is also a hill and slide into a large sand area (with ropes at the top to climb up and down), mud painting, large logs to climb on, many trees stumps just the right distance from each other and a shelter building area with many big sticks for building, among other things. The kids had a great time with their friends there. Note to self - bring towels and a change of clothes in the future. Another bonus is that it is in well treed area - shade in the summer! It doesn't get much better that a cold water feature on a hot day, where I don't have to think about sunscreen :) This is by far the best playground in my immediate area, and we're feeling very lucky. This week we had a 2 mile trail, and the kids did pretty good. I probably should have grabbed to Ergo for F though. The other major item this week was making a movie. We had a lot of fun with that, and I can't wait for the next one. Scenes, filming, acting, costume, and props - we learned a lot the first time around. L even pitched in with the soundtrack and special effects after I did the bulk of the editing.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Nature & Nomads

This week was kicked off with a walk in the woods with our homeschool group. L really enjoyed the adventure and F kept asking about the playground. He did seem to enjoy seeing the fallen trees and various plants. We've been working on our first Story of the World chapter this week. It's about Nomads, hunting & gathering, the Fertile Crescent and nomads becoming farmers. We went outside to gather items with the idea of building a shelter. A shelter for whom? Well, it turned out to be for the fairies:

We also tried our hand at "cave" paintings. I made one as an example:

I also fit in a little science, after a friend shared an experiment last week on Facebook: Soap Souffle
These were the highlights of our week. The BOB books and Monster Fighter book are still woking well for us. Reading The Hobbit is going well too. Writing sheets to practice each letter are being started (I think this will build his confidence a bit) and we're focusing on skip counting right now (Evens, Odds, by 5s and by 10s)

Friday, September 14, 2012

It is Fall, It is Fall....

Maybe not quite yet, but fall is coming. It's getting cooler, leaves are coming down, it's time to pick apples. Unfortunately for our neck of the woods, many orchards lost all or most of their apple crop, so no apple picking this year. I'm personally hoping for a very cold and snowy winter. Along with Fall come school time, at least homeschool for us. Last year, ("kindy") was pretty laid back, with the focus being on creative play, social interaction, and everything their interested in. Day to day life has no loss of learning experiences. This year we're still focusing on these things. Reading is a big thing for us this year. We're currently reading The Hobbit, and have a number of historical sources on deck to read too. L is also reading aloud to me each day, which is really exciting. I can see him getting better and have to applaud him for how much effort he has been putting into it. Math is talked about everyday still, and I had to laugh when L corrected me on my subtraction the other day. Science is another everyday thing it seems, but I keep seeing fun experiments to do too. I am still a big fan of unschooling, and have found that I need to be armed with a spreadsheet of goals for each subject by grade. I like knowing what the expectations in a standard school are and finding ways to introduce these topics in our learning. So far I'm very happy with how things are going. This week was our first official one, as the previous two were spent on vacation. I could insert a paragraph about how we're learning all the time, even in the summer, but I won't :) I'm hoping to make more regular updates here, as an easy way of keeping track of our progress. So far I've picked up: The BOB Books, The Story of the World, and Games For Writing. We're using various Level 1 & 2 reading books for L to read to me. Reading Eggs (website), is a huge hit here. I also have a huge list for the library. I hope to blog about the hits and misses here, and I say hope because life seems to get in the way of writing far too often.

Monday, May 28, 2012

What About Me - Part 2

Besides cooking, budgeting & homeschooling, I have been make a real effort to incorporate exercise into my life. When I was pregnant with L, I did Yoga everyday and walked everyday. I was in great shape when he was born. My weight melted of with the help of nursing, and, I believe, the muscle I had built up during the pregnancy. With pregnancy number 2, I did the same, but not as frequently. Nursing time, and no magical weight melt. More recently, I've been noticing pain in my knees, lower back pain, and a general feeling of "growing older". I've decided that I don't want to deteriorate without a fight, so here we go, exercise. I started cheap, with the Crunch Fitness offerings available on Netflix. After 6 or so weeks of this, I decided I wanted a bit more of a challenge a found Jillian Michaels. I just started Week 4 of Ripped in 30 today and it has been hard! The nice thing is it is 30 minutes. I can handle 30 minutes of anything, right? Now, I'm not going crazy on food intake, just more of a.. watching my options. Trying more more veg, fruit and protein. Lessish (no, that's not a word) carbs and processed food. Much more water. I'm not shedding pounds, but I'm definitely stronger and am having a lot less back pain. Of course, I feel a lot better about everything, just taking the time to do this for me. It's hard, but you can't beat the feeling of accomplishment when it's over, and the rest of the day is that much easier to get through. Heck, my 3 year old feels lighter after building up some arm strength!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

How about me?

A post about what's up with me. I'm so frustrated with myself for failing to journal or blog for the last 5 or so months. I love having memories recorded like this. So me. In the last month I've been putting a lot more attention to meal planning and grocery budget. I'm finding if I have a solid plan for the week, I only need to shop once a week. If I only go to the store once, I spend A LOT less money. I've dicovered I kinda hate meal planning. My kids are selective about what they eat, well, at least one is. (I don't want to call it picky, because he really honors what his body is saying it needs). I'm often worn out from the day and if I don't have a plan, I want take out! (and that pizza is doing me NO favors). So, a plan! Fridays are easy. It's either (nitrate free, organic) hot dogs and (organic, frozen) french fires OR chicken wings and Mac N Cheese. This is easy stuff to make and we all enjoy it. There is always salad and cut veggies too. (How lucky am I that my kids love most Veg?) Wednesday. That is our homeschool group meetup day, so it needs to be really easy or a crockpot. I usually make this beans and rice, as black beans in a crock pot are yummy! (Oh yea, sour cream & hot sauce too). The kids don't love beans, so they'll "try" beans, eat rice, and there is always veg and a fruit and/or yogurt option. Ok, that's 2 days. I always make one night a pasta night, mainly because I can separate a portion out for the kids, with olive oil or butter and parmesan cheese and they're happy. I love making a huge batch of spaghetti sauce with meat and freezing enough for a couple extra weeks. So the other 2 "week" days, I just go through the cookbook (my favorite right now is America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook) and pick something simple. If I have meat, F is happy. If I make sure we have salad, veg & parmesan, L is happy. Weekends are laid back, but I tend to make sure I have everything for pancakes, waffles, tuna salad, grilled ham & cheese, you get the idea, so we don't have to eat out. My other favorite cookbook right now is Vegan Lunch Box. Crockpot beans, Tofu Apple Spring Rolls... there's so much good stuff in here. The Oatmeal Pancakes are awesome, and even better the next day w/ peanut butter spread on to make a sandwich. The muffins have changed my life. Make a batch before a playdate and we have a great lunch option.